After a failed attempt at staining an old elk antler to look new, I was left wondering what to do with one goofy looking antler. At the same time I had just finished up another project involving some pictures and I was looking for a good way to display them. That's when I decided I might have a use for my ugly anther after all...
Step 1: Materials
Any antler will do, but I would recommend using one that's old and beat up because I feel like using a nice one is kind of a waste. Also, if you don't have one or don't quite like the look of antlers you could use something else- be creative! Anything with lots of bends or curves and "forks" in it will work nicely, though it helps if the object you use has a little weight to it for stability. Something like driftwood or cedar roots...
Step 2: Prep the Antler
Since I used an old antler it had a little bit of moss on it and the surface was cracked and very rough. I cleaned it off with a damp rag and went over it lightly with some 80 grit sandpaper. This step isn't necessary but it makes the next step go much easier. And of course leaving it just the way it was could have been an option as well, the moss did look kind of cool, it just didn't quite match the rest of the house I thought.
Step 3: Paint It
When you are satisfied with the cleanliness and smoothness of the surface you can paint it. I recommend choosing a neutral color so that it doesn't take away from the pictures, but if flashy colors are more your thing then I bet it would still look good; I have seen a few antlers hanging on walls that were painted sparkly gold that looked kinda fun...
I'm not brave enough to go with gold, so I went with white.
Acrylic paints work great, but I imagine latex based paint is good too. Either way, you will have to work it into the cracks. I used a smaller brush for that, or a paper towel works well also. From here you can do several layers for a real solid color, or like I did you can leave it a bit lighter so that some of the natural color comes through.
Step 4: Use It
When the paint is dry (for a full cure you should wait about 2-3 hours with acrylic) all that's left to do is set it out for display. If you find that it's not very steady or that the pictures won't stay in place you can put a few dabs of silicone for added grip; it's cheap and readily available at Walmart and you can put it on pretty thin and paint over it so it doesn't show. Also, you can try flipping the antler over or arranging the pictures differently; there are many ways you can go with it.
And that's all there is to it, I hope you enjoyed it and thanks for reading!